Biology has its own part to play in understanding sustainability

By Vaughntay McGraw

YORK College’s sustainability awareness campaign is continuing through Friday.

It will involve a number of events spread throughout the week and a half, developed by President Pamela Gunter-Smith’s task force for sustainability on campus. You can access the YCP sustainability awareness campaign schedule at this link.

Here’s a link to a Spartan story asking students how sustainability and climate change affects them.

For those who don’t understand sustainability, it’s maintaining the usage of the natural resources to uphold an ecological balance. Being able to have a limitation on how much natural resources are consumed creates room for the beginning of change for the better.

Climate change is a product of overusing resources and abusing the available reserve left. The change in the climate can turn humanity over to possible extinction if not dealt with.

Biology has a direct connection to achieving sustainability. Dr. Jessica Nolan, a biology professor at York College, says that “ecology and conservation biology often focus on issues related to sustainability.”

It’s a major that allows for students looking for ways to work on the issues of the world to start that pursuit with research.

The start to positive change begins with educating oneself on different angles to not only how sustainability works but to know how the surrounding fields can all connect to one another for a larger chain reaction.

Dr. Nolan says, “We have a number of courses in the curriculum that address aspects of sustainability (especially human impacts on habitats / organisms):  EED, terrestrial ecology, marine ecology, conservation biology and ecological action. We are currently working with professors in engineering and horticulture to develop a restoration plan for Tyler Run to help improve the condition of the stream.”

York College makes a great deal of effort to support the sustainability core inside the biology curriculum, getting involved with events, clubs and general awareness to damage being caused to the Earth. Even if the biology major or the biology route doesn’t suit you, there are many ways to get involved in raising greater awareness about sustainability.

“We try to introduce our non-science majors to issues of sustainability in Exploring Biology (Communities and Climate Change),” Nolan says. “There are also lots of student groups on campus interested in sustainability and opportunities to monitor the stream, clean up trash on campus, plant local species.”

Being a biology major doesn’t mean those in other fields can’t get to help make a change in the start to fix the damages done to this point. It all starts with one person making a simple change and the rest will follow.

It doesn’t matter if the assistance is a small step; the smaller the steps the greater the outcome will be for Earth. Better now than never to start making a change.

Vaughntay Mcgraw is a junior majoring in biology.

ALSO READ: On language and sustainability: YCP speaker urges audience to ‘become enchanted and reacquainted with nature aga

ALSO READ: SpartanGreen offers YCP students a chance to get their hands dirty while enhancing sustainability

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